Interviewing a mentor can be an intimidating, but highly rewarding experience. Remember, your mentor is also your peer, and he or she will be happy to share what they have experienced with you. Below are some sample questions you may wish to ask your mentor. Use this list as inspiration for highlighting the questions that are especially important to you. It is best to keep your interview short (no more than 10 questions), and allow your mentor ample time to answer fully.
1. What is your artistic process?
2. What have you been working on recently?
3. What were your first artistic experiences? What made you interested in the arts?
4. What formal education or training have you had, and what importance would you place on your degree in your success as an artist?
5. Where do you draw inspiration for your work?
6. How do you continue to be inspired?
7. What artists influence your work? Who do you look up to in the art world?
8. What was your largest career leap?
9. How difficult is it for you to balance being an artist and being a business person?
10. How do you approach deadlines and what style of time management do you use?
11. How did you get into the industry?
12. When did you decide what you wanted to do for a career?
13. Do you feel your job gives you the opportunity to inspire others?
14. What tools or skills do you find most effective for promoting your work?
15. What tips would you give a (beginning or emerging artist) to help them differintiate themselves and keep a competitive edge?
16. How do you find your clients?
17. What are some specific challenges you’ve faced in your profession?
18. What single piece of advice would you give to an artist who would like a career like yours?
19. How do you find exhibition opportunities? How do you approach galleries/museums?
20. What does a typical work day look like for you?
21. What are some pros and cons of working freelance? Do you recommend working freelance or for a company? If both, please explain.
22. How do you price your work? How do you charge for your time?
23. What are your future plans?
24. What are some common mistakes that artists new to this field make? How can they be avoided?
25. What set of skills are required for your field? Is a degree from an accredited school necessary?
26. What is the most effective way to manage multiple jobs at once? And how did you arrive at that solution?
27. Do you often have people help you with your business choices? (for example, an agent or a tax advisor)
28. What do you see as your future in art?
29. Does your family support your choice to pursue a career in art?
30. How do you divide your time? How much of your time is spent on personal projects, professional projects, self-promotion, networking, client correspondence, etc?
Here is some information about artist organizations (in or near California) that you might wish to join and add to your resume. Through them, you can meet new people, attend conferences and workshops, get help solving problems, and find work and exhibition opportunities. Many of them have student membership rates. There are links to their websites below.
College Art Association
If you live in or near or commute to IE:
really inclusive list of associations:
http://www.ami.org/medical-illustration/ very specific to biomedical illust, for anyone interested in that field.
http://www.caprintmakers.org/ must submit a portfolio for consideration, San Fransisco based
good resource (no membership, so to speak):
listed by country/region:
http://www.afsinc.org/ more tech than art based, might be good resource though
http://www.aist.org/ more tech/ science/ engineering based than art based. still good resource/ scholarships
Other Valuable Resources
art law workshops, etc (copyright, branding, litigation, etc)
Here are ten great resource books on professional practices for artists. They are filled with answers to the questions that will pop up throughout your art career. Keep them handy for quick references to essentials like updating your resume, writing a proposal, or knowing what to charge a client.
1.The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines 13th ed.
Highly recommended for Illustration and Graphic Design students and professionals alike! A comprehensive guide to ethical practices in the business of art, legal rights and guidelines, and sample contracts.
2.Getting Your Sh*t Together: a Professional Practices Manual for Artists by Karen Atkinson and GYST Inc.
This professional manual is highly popular as it appeals to artists from all media, and philosophies from the emerging to the seasoned, those seeking gallery representation to the conceptual artist not looking to sell. It features up-to-the-minute information and tips to offer solutions to common problems and answers questions artists ask and those many don’t think to ask.http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Your-Together-Professional-Practices/dp/1453801561/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1337901453&sr=8-2
3.The GYST Inc. Website:Okay, this one is not a book, but it is still a great resource for business information.
4.I’d Rather Be in the Studio: the Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion, by Alyson B. Stanfield
This highly rated book provides strategies for putting your work in front of buyers and collectors, with detailed instructions on writing better artist statements, blog posts and newsletters, as well as effective use of social media.
5. The Fine Artist’s Guide to Marketing and Self Promotion, by Julius Vitali
A good guide to the do’s and don’ts of seflf promotion and marketing your art! Written by an artist who’s been successfully living off his art since the 70’s, this book- proclaimed a must read for the career artist by Amazon reviewers- demystifies self-promotion on a tight budget.
6. 2012 Artist’s and Graphic Designer’s Market, by Mary Burzlaff Bostic
A smart guide for artists entering careers in fine art, illustration, cartooning or graphic design. Amazon readers rave about the Kindle PC edition in particular, but the print edition comes with a free year subscription to ArtistsMarketOnline.com
7. Making it in the Art World: New Approaches to Galleries, Shows and Raising Money, by Brainard Carey
Written by an art professional who also hosted a radio show called The Art World Demystified (http://www.yourartmentor.com/), this book covers topics such as evaluating your own work, submitting work, presenting your work to the public, and avoiding distractions in the studio.
8. ART/WORK: Everything You Need To Know (and Do) as You Pursue Your Art Career
by Heather Darcy Bhandari, Jonathan Melber
Co-written by a gallery director (Bhandari) and an arts lawyer (Melber), this book contains real-life anecdotes and advice on such necessities as playing competatively in the art world, making wise decisions for your creative path, taking legal precautions and taking inventory.
9. The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing: How to Find Funds and Write Foolproof Proposals for the Visual, Literary and Performing Artist, by Gigi Rosenberg
This book is written for visual artists, writers and performers, and focuses in depth on fund raising for your artistic career. Rosenberg uses strategies and real life anecdotes to illustrate her points. Amazon raters found the book not only highly useful, but written in an engaging and entertaining style as well. Recommended for any artist seeking grants and residencies.
10. Licensing Art 101, Third Edition Updated: Publishing and Licensing Your Artwork For Profit, by Michael Woodward
A must read for illustrators and graphic designers. This book is a valuable guide to licensing reproductive rights to manufacturers and publishers, explaining need-to-knows about negotiating your fees, exhibiting in trade shows, and protecting your rights and more. Recommended for fine artists and commercial artists.
11. Legal Guide for the Visual Artist (Fifth Edition), by Tad Crawford
An in depth look at legal issues visual artists face today, providing legal guidance, case studies, and discussing important issues such as recent changes in artist’s rights, sample contracts, and advice on how to locate local art groups and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts organizations. An accessible, highly recommended book for those not versed in “legalese.”